Regardless of beginnings, Freo have had 23 years to get their sh*t together.
More early draft picks than even Carlton can poke a stick at and continually squander them away with stupid quick-fix trades rather than trying to build the team from within.
The problem now is that they have 23 years of that Freo culture ingrained in the club to deal with. 23 years of crying "poor us" and blaming everything on the Eagles (despite 15 years of being financially propped up by the Eagles WAFC). 23 years of over-paying for trades just to one-up the eagles.
Let them bitch and moan. We'll keep winning flags.
You see what would normally happen with a club, is they'd analyse big brother up the road. "They've been successful, let's copy exactly what the do".
And in time tweak so they can do better than us.
In Freos instance, they do exactly the opposite, even if it means jumping off a bridge, because you know, "we showed them, we did it our way". They don't give a rat's about the result, so long as they do the opposite of WCE, they can hold their head high.
But you are right, 23 or 24 years of ingrained mediocrity, it's in their ethos, in their DNA, it's what is plastered on their mission statement at C ock burn.
Case in point, there is no way WCE would tolerate the rubbish that Matera displays on field. We don't tolerate it, we have standards. At Failmantle they accept and embrace mediocrity with open arms.
And what are Freo supporters anyway, they all supported WCE at the beginning, they are Turncoats. The type of people you don't trust and the type that get shanked in person.
Arguably, up to 12 teams are in a position to win the premiership,
They are Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Sydney, Geelong, Richmond, Essendon, Melbourne, St Kilda, Hawthorn, GWS, Collingwood and the Bulldogs.
That’s four non-Victorians and eight Victorian clubs.
The remaining clubs, North Melbourne, Fremantle, Carlton, Gold Coast, West Coast and Brisbane are at different stages of development, although — and as Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale recently said in the Herald Sun — there are no guarantees in football.
Plus the usual bleatings from the inbreeds from Cockburn
"We didn't get the same great start up concessions you got! State team!"
Yeah the WAFL got raided before we got given the go ahead, and even then we had a list of 37 compared to the 54 the other teams got. Bizarrely Freo supporters claim it was an advantage to have a smaller list compared to the other clubs? Figure that out
The Eagles initial squad of 35 contained 10 players (8 State of Origin, 2 from WAFL V SANFL) who had represented their state (all WA). Of those only 1 played in a premiership for the Eagles.
Interestingly, the Hawthorn & Carlton sides had more players with State rep experience in their 1987 sides (not all Victorians). All other VFL teams (except Brisbane) had lists of 50 players in 1987 i.e. an extra 15 players.
Before the Eagles list was put together in 1986, the following 1986 WAFL players left for other VFL clubs: Harding, Sartori, Bairstow, Wilson, Winmar, Mitchell, Bewick, Dean.
So the Eagles went into the expanded VFL with a list including 35 mainly WAFL players who were picked from a pool that had already lost 8 of its best players (per above). It had 10 state players but these included players aged30+ players like Glendinning & Wiley (who were gone in 2 & 1 years respectively), Malaxos (failed Hawk), Narkle, McNish, Keene, Davidson, Miles Laidley & Lamb. Only Lamb played in a premiership for WC.
The original list of 35 did include 5 future premiership players. In addition to Lamb we also took some young unproven types including Mainwaring, Lewis, Brennan and Hart.
The rest of our list was built subsequently through some pre-draft picks over the next few years - until we had a similar size list to other VFL clubs (the last pre-draft pick was in 1991).
In 1987 and 1988 we were able to take 5 players before the draft. In 87 this was it - we dropped 5 off our list, added 5 new ones and stayed with a list of 35.
In 88 we picked up 5 pre-draft to increase the list to 40. (Of these 3 had to be over 20 and 2 under 20). We then particpated in the draft. WA players were available to all but only 1 per club (this was to help protect the WAFL which was still recovering from the mass exodus of players 2 years earlier).
In 1989 we got 2 pre-draft picks (Brisbane got 6 & Sydney 4)
In 1990 we got 2 (Brisbane got 5 and Sydney 6)
The key for the Eagles was the way they used the Draft in 1989: Matera, Heady, Evans, McIntosh & Kemp and then getting White & Jakovich with our 2 pre-draft picks in 1990.
Interestingly the 1989 draft saw Matera go at 4 after he was passed over by St Kilda, Richmond & Footscray. Then there was a West Aussie frenzy with 7 of the Top 14 being from the WAFL (only Matera to WC). The players taken by Vic Teams in that draft (all before Evans, Heady & Kemp): Brad Rowe, Mark Brayshaw, Stephen Edgar, Dale Kickett, Brad Tunbridge, Ben Allan, Gavin Rose, Peter Cransberg, Denis Rapacholi. 4 Victorian sides didnt draft anyone from WA. This puts to bed one often spouted theory that we had this great draft because of concession. These players (Evans, Heady, Kemp) were all simply passed over as was Matera by 3 clubs.
At the end of 1991 (our one pre-draft pick was Jason Ball) we had exhausted all "concessions" as we had equalised our list with our VFL sides.
Again to restate: The only reason they Eagles got pre-draft picks after their first few seasons was to minimise the damage to the WAFL. Rather than destroy the comp by taking 50 players up front, we took 35 in one year and then a few more each year to bring the list up to the same as the other clubs. The Eagles did not get to take the best 5 players in the WAFL with those picks (in 87 + 88) because they had to split the picks between 16-19 year olds and 20+ year olds.
The first few years were tough and the key for WC was their good fortune with WA winning a Teal Cup (for the first time) in 1985 (so there was a good crop of kids at the end of 86/87) and a spectacular draft in 1989 + 2 great pre-draft picks in 1990.
This formula remains the same today. Build with kids and nail a couple of drafts and you are a contender.